They're as educational as they are entertaining
There are more than 35,000 museums in the United States, according to a figure released by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. That means there's twice as many museums in our country as there are Starbucks – a staggering figure.
10Best wanted to narrow down the field to the best museums in Canada and the U.S. across eight categories, so we asked our readers to vote for their favorites.
Best Art Museum: Booth Western Art Museum in Cartersville, Georgia
The Booth Western Art Museum maintains the world’s largest permanent exhibition space for Western art, while the building itself was designed to resemble a pueblo. The collection of paintings, sculpture, artifacts and photography focus on themes of the Civil War and American West, with works by American legends like Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Andy Warhol.
Best Children's Museum: The Children's Museum of Indianapolis in Indiana
A favorite Indy attraction, the Children's Museum of Indianapolis is the largest museum of its kind in the world, encompassing 29 acres of fun-filled exhibits. Kids can star in their own circus, slide down a river of chocolate, fly over the Great Wall of China, snap a selfie with a T-rex or explore outer space through the lens of NASA’s Project Mercury.
Best Free Museum: National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center in Columbus, Georgia
Free immersive exhibits at the National Infantry Museum & Soldier Center in Columbus take visitors through 240 years of U.S. history through the lens of what it means to be a U.S. soldier. It's one of the world's top military museums and one of the top-rated attractions in Columbus.
Best History Museum: National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia
This 135-acre museum site chronicles the history and heritage of the United States Marine Corps. The structure itself is meant to resemble the image of raising the flag at Iwo Jima, while the collection within includes artifacts from 240 years of corps history – uniforms, weapons, medals, flags, aircraft, vehicles and works of art.
Best Music Museum: Patsy Cline Museum in Nashville, Tennessee
Patsy Cline died young – she was only 30 years old – but she left a big mark on the American country music industry. This Nashville museum explores her life and work through artifacts, personal belongings, video and audio recordings and costumes.
Best New Museum: National Comedy Center in Jamestown, New York
Situated in Jamestown, New York, the National Comedy Center is the first museum in the world dedicated to the art of comedy in the United States. More than 50 interactive exhibits and an extensive collection bring to life the voices of comedy greats, from Charlie Chaplin to Dave Chappelle.
Best Religious Museum: Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky
This museum sits within a full-size replica of Noah’s Ark, based on dimensions given in the Bible. Inside, exhibits highlight one of the most famous stories in Christianity by showing what life might have been like for Noah and his family.
Best Science Museum: Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Columbus, Ohio
Visitors can turn into astronauts with a snap of the finger at this Columbus, Ohio museum by riding in a mock space shuttle. COSI offers a wide array of permanent exhibits and hosts a few traveling ones, too.
If space isn't of interest, check out the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery and Ohio’s largest planetarium, or maybe take a tour of the ancient stories of the sea hosted by Poseidon himself. You can even lift a 2,437-pound car with the help of a lever in the outdoor Big Science park.
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